A plea for open source knitting software

Machine knitted fabric by Veronika Persché

Machine knitted fabric by Veronika Persché

At my Viennese knitting workshop, I produce fabrics for use in the creative professions in both Austria and abroad. My knitting expertise is in demand by both (fashion) designers and artists—these customers select colours, materials and designs in order to create the fabrics with which they themselves want to work.

I am open to inspiration anytime and everywhere—it can come from posters, signs, lettering and packaging as well as from façade ornaments and from the colours and patterns of others’ clothes. As a textile designer I am constantly trying out new materials, patterns and effects—be it mohair, polyester, rubber or metal threads. Ever the experimenter, I enjoy knitting together things that at first glance don’t seem to belong together at all.

My working method is somewhat bipolar. First there’s the construction—strict, perfect and regularly textured, the opposite pole is the material: this is organic and often imperfect or irregular, making it a good source of surprises, coincidences and accidents. I discover inspiring textures in the architecture of the Bauhaus movement, of Viennese public housing and of Italian fascism, as well as in Russian Constructivism and M.C. Escher’s drawings. In processing these, I orient myself on the great role models provided by the Wiener Werkstätte and numerous traditional arts and crafts.

Since I not only design new patterns but also produce the fabrics, technical realization and selection of material play a major role. Working with the machine and experimenting with various materials transforms the pattern, often to the extent that it is not possible for people outside the process to trace it back to the thing from which it originated.

I create various fabric structures with the help of computer-driven knitting machines. Combining materials and altering the design, I can create a variety of different effects from the same starting point. My fabrics range from the organic to high glamour.

Machine knitted fabric by Veronika Persché

Machine knitted fabric by Veronika Persché

The machines I work with are semi-industrial ones, they were build for the needs of small knitting mills or designer/makers. Unfortunately they are not produced any more, even more, one of the companies went out of business.

So you still can buy some of these highly elaborated knitting machines with the according software at second hand dealers, but the numbers are limited and prices rise. In the last few months I experienced serious troubles with one of the control units, the software was not working anymore and I couldn’t access the system. This experience of depending on a proprietary software by a no longer existing company lead me to the decision to find a way to create an open source software for these knitting machines. Unfortunately, my computer skills are far from dealing with tasks like programming etc., so I have to find computer geeks who are able to help me develop the software. Right now I’m in the phase of getting smart people from around the globe together to discuss this theme. If anybody’s out there who wants to get involved in this project, please get in touch with me!

Veronika Persché is a machine knitter from Vienna. You can find out more about her work and make contact at her website www.persche.com

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